It’s Fiber Festival Time!

Sheep Fiber Festival

Sheep Fiber FestivalCooler days mean it’s time for fiber festivals. If you’ve never been to one, you don’t know what you are missing. They are great family activities, and my now-grown children have fond memories of the hours we spent watching -and sometimes petting – the animals, eating great food, and petting and buying yarn. (Well ok, maybe the yarn thing is just my fond memory.)

Most festivals also feature workshops of all kinds. You can hone your knitting and crocheting skills, learn to spin or weave, learn about animal husbandry and dog training, and more.

Fall Fiber Festival and Sheep Dog Trials

Fall Fiber Festival and Sheep Dog Trials at MontpelierThe Virginia Fall Fiber Festival and Sheep Dog Trials in Montpelier takes place October 7 and 8. It’s a nice regional show and a long-time favorite of mine. It’s manageable in a day but offers plenty of variety and entertainment. I’ll be there on Saturday, October 5, signing books and demonstrating rigid heddle weaving in the demo tent. This year, unlike last year, I will remember to bring the heddle.


Rhinebeck New York Sheep and Wool FestivalThe New York Sheep & Wool Festival, known affectionately as “Rhinebeck”, is October 21-22, 2017. Fiber enthusiasts of all stripes descend on the small Hudson River town of Rhinebeck, site of the New York State Fairgrounds. This one’s a biggie! Bring your comfy shoes, your shopping list, your fat purse, and your hungry stomach, as you’ll need all of those to navigate the show.

I’ll be at the Merritt Books booth all weekend, doing book signings and exclaiming over beautiful handwork.

If you are there, please do me a favor: Buy out my book inventory, because if I sell all they have, I’m free to wander the show!

What’s your favorite fall fiber activity?

Review: Make Money Teaching Crochet

Marie Segares provided a copy of Make Money Teaching Crochet for my review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own. This page may contain affiliate links, which help support me, but don’t cost you anything extra.

One of the questions I get asked most frequently is: How did you get started in your career?

There are many variations on this question, but the meaning behind all of them is the same: How can I do what you do? The answer, of course, is multi-faceted, but there are some resources you can use to turn your hobby into a money-making venture. One of these is Make Money Teaching Crochet.

A Success Story

Marie Segares Crochet and knitting teacher Marie Segares has turned her passion for yarn into a second career. As a blogger, she shares tips and projects on the Underground Crafter blog. As a podcaster, she hosts the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show, which focuses on the many aspects of having a yarn-related business. In Make Money Teaching Crochet, she offers a workbook-style approach to launching a teaching business.

Asking and Answering Questions

Written in a comfortable style, each section contains explanatory text. Depending on the format you choose (see below), you may have space to fill in your own answers on  blank lines and tables.

A series of questions helps you get started. Begin with examining your short-term and long-term goals, your technical skills, and your organizational and presentation skills.

Move on to the business of teaching, an admittedly less interesting aspect of teaching for many of us, but a crucial one if you are trying to make money. (Note the book title. Making money is why you are reading the book.) Have you considered how you are going to get paid? How much? What are your refund and cancellation policies? What about self-employment taxes? Marie takes you through each step.

The third section focuses on marketing your classes to your target audience, while a fourth section covers prepping for class. The final section, Resources, is full of helpful links to help get your crochet business off the ground.

The book comes in a number of formats and price points. You can get it as a Kindle ebook or Kobo ebook (without the worksheets), a printable edition with worksheets (the version I have), or as a pdf version with customizable worksheets.

Who Needs This Book?

If you have been considering teaching, or if you are already teaching a fiber craft, you’ll find Make Money Teaching Crochet a helpful exercise. Just be sure to actually do the workbook exercises to get the full benefit! Students currently enrolled in the Craft Yarn Council’s Certified Instructor Program may find it a helpful addition to their studies.

And don’t be mislead by the title! You can use the information here for any yarn-related craft class. If you want to teach knitting or weaving or whatever, there is a fount of information here. The workbook-style exercises allow you to use the book over and over again as your needs, interests, and teaching skills change.

Although I’ve been teaching crochet and knitting for years, I found the workbook a good review and check system. There were some questions that made me think outside my current box, and others that assured me that I’m on the right track. It also gave me some good ideas of new things to try.

Pros: Helpful exercises for all fiber arts teachers at many stages of their careers, as a jump-start, reality check or refresher course. Comes in a variety of formats and price points.

Cons: Unfortunately, I found the serif font used throughout the book difficult to read for long stretches. This may not be a problem for those with younger eyes, or those reading in digital format, but presented a challenge with my paper copy.

Additional Resources about Teaching

Craft Yarn Council Certified Instructors Program

Listen to the bHooked Crochet podcast, where Jenny Besonnette, Executive Director of the Craft Yarn Council and I talk about the program, or watch it on YouTube.

Crochet Guild of America Master of Advanced Crochet Stitches and Techniques


Crochet Guild of America Chain Link Conference

Crocheters, do you wish there was a place where you could connect with other crocheters, learn new stitches, see some *amazing* crochet designs, buy yarn, and be inspired by the art of crochet? There is!

Chain Link Conference

The Crochet Guild of America (CGOA) sponsors the Chain Link Conference each year. In 2017 it will be all crochet. Come to Chicago July 26-29, to learn from professional crochet teachers, shop the market, attend fun crochet parties, and “ooh” and “ahh” over the incredible designs you’ll see.

The event will be held at the Westin Chicago Northwest in Itasca, Illinois.

The weekend kicks off on Wednesday with the CGOA Masters’ Day Program, for those enrolled in the Masters of Stitches Program. Crochet Professionals (or wanna-be professionals) will benefit from Professional Development Day, where you’ll hear from professionals in the industry, network, and attend breakout sessions targeted to growing your business.

Plan to attend classes on Thursday, then attend the Market preview on Thursday evening. It’s open exclusively to conference registrants. Classes and shopping continue on Friday and Saturday, with an awards banquet Friday night. One of the most popular events is the Designer Meet  & Greet, where you can meet one-on-one with editorial staff from various publications, show off your designs, and perhaps arrange to get published!

The weekend ends with the Grand Finale Fashion Show and Banquet on Saturday night, leaving you plenty of time to return home and rest on Sunday before heading back to work on Monday. I’ll be teaching five classes, which are described below. Won’t you join me? Register here.

Crochet Critique Pattern Writing Workshop Chain Link ConferenceCrochet Critique Pattern Writing Workshop

Designers, make yourself understood! Crocheters, decipher those cryptic patterns! Do you struggle with the wording of patterns? Do you spend lots of time answering (or asking) questions? Is it possible to have too many words in a crochet pattern, or too few? How do tech editors and test stitchers help clarify pattern language? What happens when designers don’t really know how to make themselves understood? We will look at specific pattern examples and examine what works best in various situations. Students will have the opportunity to have their own patterns reviewed anonymously, and will receive suggestions on ways to improve their pattern-writing skills. The benefit of having an entire class working together is that we get a variety of viewpoints!

Yes, You Can! (Read a Crochet Pattern) Chain Link ConferenceYes, You Can! (Read a Crochet Pattern)

Inexperience in deciphering a crochet pattern can keep you from enjoying crochet to the fullest. Crochet symbols can foul your mood unless you understand how helpful they can be. In this hands-on class, we’ll work step-by-step through some typical crochet patterns and see what each abbreviation, punctuation mark and symbol means. We’ll look at different types of pattern writing, and see how the same thing can be said in many many different ways.

Crochet Stitch Workshop Chain Link ConferenceCrochet Stitch Workshop

Crochet is more than ripple stitch! See how crochet uses cables, lace, texture and openwork to create beautiful fabric. Try your hand at a variety of stitch families. Play with color and texture while learning to read crochet text and charts.

Go Bi-Textural: Combine Knitting & Crochet Chain link ConferenceGo Bi-Textural: Combine Knitting & Crochet

Break out of your knitting rut by blending techniques. We’ll combine the best properties of knitting with the best properties of crochet to get designs that wow and knits that fit! See how to use crochet techniques to make your knits fit better, create the perfect buttonhole, insert a crocheted motif into a knitted fabric, and other tips.

Understanding Symbol Crochet Chain Link ConferenceUnderstanding Symbol Crochet

More and more crochet patterns are using international crochet symbols. With symbol crochet, you can see what your stitch pattern is supposed to look like and see the relationship of stitches to one another. Many crocheters find this way of presenting patterns easier to follow than written-out instructions, allowing them to avoid mistakes before they happen! Learn the fundamentals of symbol crochet and see how this universal crochet “language” makes it easy to read patterns from any country. We’ll also talk about and see a demonstration of ways to create your own crochet diagrams.





Double Knitting Workshop: Learn a New Skill

Double Knitting Workshop Creativebug

Double knitting is one of those techniques that may seem out-of-reach to the average knitter. After all, how can you possibly knit two fabrics at once with only two needles? And adding a second color and patternwork surely must require a magic wand in addition to knitting needles. Fortunately for us Muggles, no magic is required; you just need yarn, two needles and two hands.  In my new Double Knitting Workshop from Creativebug, I’ll give you all the skills you need to get started with double knitting.

What is Double Knitting?

Double knitting is a technique that creates a double-sided fabric by simply knitting back and forth across a row. Yes, that’s TWO right sides and NO wrong sides! (The trick is in the slip stitches, but you’ll have to learn the technique to figure out how it works.)

Double knitting creates nice spongy fabric that makes great scarves, coasters, hats, blankets…any kind of item that you’d like to be fully reversible. When worked in two colors, you can add patterns that show up as positive/negative images on either side of the fabric.

Why Double Knit?

It’s fascinating to watch the fabric take shape as you knit. Once you get the hang of the technique, you’ll start to understand a lot more about the structure of a knitted fabric. I always say that the more you understand about the path of the yarn and how it creates a whole fabric, the better knitter you’ll be. In other words, you don’t have to do double knitting all the time, but learning the skill helps you in your regular knitting, as well. Of course, you may decide you love it, and want to explore it in more detail!

The techniques I cover in class include everything you need to know to create the scarf pictured above, including the pattern and charts. The yarn I used is Hikoo Sueño, an 80% superwash merino wool/20% viscose blend that knits up like an absolute dream, and made such a cushy scarf that I didn’t want to stop knitting. I even shed a little tear when I had to leave the scarf at the Creativebug studios.

Learning Double Knitting

Double knitting does require a bit of concentration, at least in the beginning. (Sorry about that, but I do try to make it as painless as possible!) This is one technique in which I think video learning is particularly helpful.  In Double Knitting Workshop, I’ll show you your choice of two methods of casting on; long tail and tubular.  I’ll show you how to handle two colors of yarn and how to twist the yarns at the ends of rows to prevent holes in the edges. I’ll also demonstrate two ways to finish: the condensed bind off, and a grafted bind off. I’ll show you what to do to fix common mistakes (I got very good at this) and how to read a chart for double knitting.

When I started to prepare for this class, it had been quite a few years since I had done any double knitting, and I had to re-teach myself a few of the associated techniques. This means that I had the opportunity to really examine what was going on in my head as I knit. As I re-acquainted myself with the process, I made notes of where it seemed likely that a novice would get stuck, I hope that my own journey of (re)discovery helps make yours easier, as I hold your hand and point out potential pitfalls as you learn.

Behind the Scenes at Creativebug

Of all the classes I’ve shot in a studio, I think this shoot was the most fun. I’d been to Creativebug’s San Francisco studios several times before, and I already knew the crew. I was working with Eric, Devin and Christine, a team of professionals who not only know what they are doing, but make it so much fun to work together. The studio was filled with natural light, and it was a delight to spend the day with them. Just for fun, here’s a look at what we did when the cameras weren’t rolling (but the foam rollers were). That’s Charlie, one of several office dogs, who spent the day on set with us.